Our Story

Free Methodist Church was born

In the mid 1800’s It was the belief of many that the Genesee Conference of the Methodist  Episcopal Church departed from spiritual Christianity and that the opposition of holiness  reached its climax resulting in the protests of many laymen, loyal to original Methodism.
Laymens' Conventions, with conference wide representation, were held at Albion, New York in December 1858 and November 1859. As hundreds of spiritual layman were driven out of the church they were gathered into bonds and provided with religious services supported by the Laymens' Convention. The expelled desisted from ministerial functions but some continued to preach the Gospel as laymen to crowded congregations.  

Tonawanda Free Methodist church is born

Around 1860 after the Free Methodist church was organized in South Pekin (Now Sanborn NY), the first services in the then the Village of Tonawanda took place in the home of George Goodenough Sr. In 1862 the Tonawanda church was officially incorporated as the Tonawanda Society of the Free Methodist Church with 15 full members . They continued to meet in several members’ homes including “Mother Longs home” somewhere on Adam St. until the Tonawanda society purchased an old brick School house which was converted into a church building, where they met for approximately 20 years. This building was located about where Hamp funeral home’s parking lot currently is.
*In the early days at the confluence of the Ellicott and Tonawanda Creeks (section of the Erie Canal) the Village of Tonawanda (incorporated in 1854) later to become the City of Tonawanda in (1904) the area had rapid growth economically and by population. It was largely due to the construction of the Erie Canal, completed in 1825. On October 26, 1825, the Erie Canal was opened.  At that time, it was the largest canal in the world. This important water way ex-tended 363 miles from Buffalo to Albany.
In the 1800's the church always had, a Sexton, a man whose work was to clean and care for the  church, to ring  the church  bell, cut the wood and fire up the wood burning  stove to heat the  church for services in the cool weather.
In 1887, the Tonawanda Society purchased property at 89 Adam St. the Village of Tonawanda for $300. The Adam St. church was constructed during the pastorate of the Rev. W.B. Partridge.  The old church property was sold to the Grand Old Army organization for approximately $2,700.00 and the contract for a new edifice was obtained.  In the same period, the old parsonage was sold and the parsonage a 91 Adam Street was secured.

A new era for the Tonawanda Church

From 1955-1965 years, Rev. Albert Revell doubled the church attendance. The official board authorized the beginning of a building fund since a local business man who had a vision for the Tonawanda Church work helped by making a gift to the church for this purpose.   
In 1962, looking into the future, the church bought a large Wurlitzer Organ for the future facility.  The church voted to relocate to a site at 207 Grove Street in the heart of the City of Tonawanda. As you can see the Grove Street church was of contemporary design and designs for a large education wing was prepared by Wallace Moll. The education wing was never built and the area which was gravel was used for parking
 The ground breaking ceremony took place on November 1966.
Rev. Howard Duncan (1966- 1969) led the congregation in the building and construction of the new church on Grove St. Pastor and Mrs. Duncan along with many members worked hours finishing the interior and exterior staining and painting to save the church money.
The church construction cost were approximately $177,000.
 On October 6, 1968, Bishop Marston, Rev. Carson Reber, and Rev. Howard Duncan lead the dedication ceremony. And church services were held in the new facility.

Be a part of our story...

Join us every Sunday as we gather to worship together a 10:00 am and
Every Tuesday Night for Biker Church at 7:00pm